Jones assumes command of CES, first uniformed leader in decade

  • Published
  • By John Ingle
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron returned to military leadership March 23, 2021, after roughly a decade of a civilian director at the helm.

Lt. Col. Jon Jones assumed command of the squadron during a ceremony at the Sheppard Club. Col. Josh DeMotts, 82nd Mission Support Group commander, officiated the event.

Mark McBurnett, the former director and base civil engineer, now fills a role he is familiar with as the squadron’s deputy.

Jones, who most recently served as the deputy of the Facilities Operation Branch in the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, said he was humbled and thankful for the trust and confidence Sheppard leadership has in his ability to lead the 82nd CES.

“I cannot wait to get started and dive into the 82nd Civil Engineering team and build upon the many accomplishments of the squadron,” he said. “I have the distinct honor to be the first officer after 10-plus years to join this exceptional team of engineers with decades of knowledge and experience of maintaining and repairing Sheppard Air Force Base infrastructure in direct support of the 82nd Training Wing, its vital training missions, and the flying training mission of the 80th (Flying Training Wing).”

Jones also thanked McBurnett for his more than 25 years of service in CE – all at Sheppard AFB – and for the job he has done as director. The new commander also told members of the CE team, the people who get the mission done every day, that he looks forward to continued success.

An A-76 Cost Comparison Study that began in 2006 resulted in the transition from military to civilian leadership at the squadron in the late 2000s.

DeMotts laid out the magnitude of CE’s responsibilities on the 6,000-acre installation from management of 400 facilities at Sheppard and its Lake Texoma Annex to more than 30 million square feet of pavement including four aviation runways that support the Air Force’s busiest joint-use airfield to operating three fire stations in Texas and Oklahoma and much more. CE, he said, is one “big beast.”

The MSG commander said Jones’s work experiences make him the perfect fit for the challenges the 82nd CES faces. He said Jones’s selection to lead the squadron is indicative of his performance previously held positions.

“I learned several years ago, while spending time with the Marine Corps, hope is not a course of action. But today, I hope my excitement for you, Jon, is clear and apparent,” he said. “I’m ready for you to bring your experiences, your knowledge and your energy into CE. CE is ready to catch you with open arms, and as we always say from the front office: You go lead your squadron – the MSG has your back.”

DeMotts took a moment to thank McBurnett for his 10-year tenure as the CE director. He quipped it’s a 10-year sentence no one should be assigned.

He said he looked into McBurnett’s record and discovered words such as excellence, team-builder and leader. Under his leadership, dorm renovation projects, utility upgrades and the new main gate are just a few accomplishments he oversaw.

“Going back to Mark’s records again, I think few could sum it up better than one piece of anonymous feedback I found that simply said, ‘You’re smart, you’re funny, and gosh darn it, people like you,’” he said. “Mark, I can say it no better. I appreciate you and I’m happy we can help get you a little relief from a job you never really wanted in the first place.”